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Asked and Answered

How to maximize your business development during the COVID-19 crisis

Plenty of lawyers in private practice worry about business development during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there may be more opportunities to discover new clients than they realize. And that is thanks to an increase in online events, says Karen Kaplowitz, a lawyer and business development coach.

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ABA Journal Podcast

On-the-go lawyer’s guide to keeping fit and healthy (podcast with transcript)

Lawyers—are you really too busy to exercise?

Workouts and eating right require time commitments, exercise physiologists who coach executives tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, but if you stick with them 90 percent of the time, you’ll feel much better.

The Modern Law Library

What if Crim Law was taught by cartoons?

When he started a Tumblr called The Illustrated Guide to Law, Nathaniel Burney’s intention was to teach high-school-aged kids a little more about the law through illustrated comics—for example, that an undercover officer does not have to identify himself or herself if you ask, “Are you a cop?” To his surprise, the greatest response came from law students, who loved his humorous take on explaining the basics of criminal law.

Read Chapter 15:
Self Defense

It’s not meant to be a replacement to law school, says Burney, but his book The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law is just the first in a planned series to cover all the courses of a 1L. He discusses how the project developed with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles.

For a look at the next book, The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure, you can watch its development at LawComic.net.


Boston Globe: “The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law”

Lawyerist: “The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law (Book Review)”

Associate’s Mind: “Review: The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law”


ABA Journal Podcast

How can you deal with pro se litigants and keep your cool? (Podcast with transcript)

Have you ever had a pro se litigant demand to conduct their cross-examination from an air mattress? With more and more cash-strapped litigants choosing self-representation, there’s little doubt lawyers will find themselves across the table or aisle from someone going pro se. Guests trade war stories and offer tips in an interview with ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward.

Law Scribbler Podcast

Is it worth the risk to hire lawyers from a failing firm?

Is your firm at risk if you hire laterals from a dissolving law firm?

As two New York federal district court rulings have disagreed on the “unfinished business” doctrine, which determines who can claim profits from a defunct law firm’s unfinished cases, the matter appears destined for the Second Circuit. However, 2012’s public implosion of Dewey & LeBoeuf showed that law firms who hire laterals from a dissolving firm shouldn’t wait for the courts to decide on issues that could end up in a lawsuit over fee ownership.

ABA Journal business of law reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky discusses with Beazley’s Brant Weidner and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Kevin S. Rosen the ways firms can address and mitigate the risks of hiring laterals from a dissolving firm.

The Modern Law Library

How to practice law in a ‘sharing economy’ (Podcast)

The world’s global and economical meltdowns have pushed more Americans to consider shared access to resources, such as housing and autos, over individual ownership. One example of this kind of venture is Zipcar, a car-sharing service which was acquired by Avis two weeks ago for $491.2 million, according to the Associated Press.

As the number of community cooperatives, social enterprises and local sustainable economies increases, so does the need for transactional lawyers to guide individuals through the legal gray areas encountered in a sharing economy.

In her new book, Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, And Local Sustainable Economies, author Janelle Orsi predicts this trend will continue to gain nationwide momentum and teaches lawyers how to build their practices around the sharing economy and attract and advise like-minded clients. She discusses this and other insights about her book with ABA Journal reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky.

Related articles:

Shareable: “The Top 10 New Books about the Sharing Economy”

Don De Leon of Grassroots Lawyers: “Book Review”

GroAction.com: “The new Sharing Economy: Is it legal?”

ABA Journal Podcast

Why Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Advised Susan Rice Against Law School (Podcast with Transcript)

Change is coming, albeit it slowly, 50 years after the March on Washington. Much has improved since the civil rights movement, but more is needed, lawyers involved in the 1960s struggles tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

Is Batman a State Actor? ‘Law of Superheroes’ Authors Dish on Comics in the Courtroom

Corrected: Long have comic book fans debated the minutiae of the genre. Lawyers James Daily and Ryan Davidson, authors of the two-time Blawg 100 nominee Law and the Multiverse, have taken the discussion from the comic book store’s backroom to the courtroom.

In their new book, The Law of Superheroes, Davidson and Daily map out what the legal implications would be for various superhero powers and storylines. Is Batman a state actor under the Lugar test? Is the Incredible Hulk liable for property damage created when he “hulks out?” Would a mind-reading psychic like Professor X be allowed to introduce telepathic evidence in court? When Superman crushes a lump of coal into a diamond and gives it to Lana Lang, is that gift taxable? The authors join ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles to discuss those issues and share what comic aficionados’ responses to the book have been.


Wall Street Journal: “Invincible Heroes—Except in Court”

National Law Journal: “Superheroes and the law: How would Batman or Captain America fare in court?”

Popehat: “Better Call Galactus”

[Note on audio quality: Lee Rawles has a headcold and Ryan Davidson conducted the interview over Skype.]

Updated at 11:05 a.m. to correct that Lana Lang received the diamond from Superman.

ABA Journal Podcast

Prudent or Plentiful? How Law Firms Decide Year-End Associate Bonuses

Higher associate bonuses came from Cravath Swaine & Moore in 2012. Naturally other firms that see themselves—or want to see themselves—as competitors with the Wall Street firm followed suit.  For the most part, partners and associates are happy with the numbers, guests tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward. But there could be big changes in the future.

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “Cravath Boosts Year-End Bonuses, Will Pay $10K to $60K; Last Year’s Ceiling Was $37.5K”

ABAJournal.com: “Tis the Season: Skadden and Simpson Thacher Match Cravath Year-End Bonuses of $10K to $60K”

The Modern Law Library

‘Conspiracy of Silence’ Allowed Judges’ Kids-for-Cash Scandal to Occur, Says Author

For five years, two judges in Luzerne County, Penn., colluded with the owners of a juvenile detention facility to place children in detention for minor offenses in exchange for bribes amounting to almost $2.8 million. In Kids for Cash: Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme, William Ecenbarger tells the story of what happened in Luzerne County, and how a “conspiracy of silence” enabled the fraud to go on as long as it did. He speaks with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles about the details of the case and how the scheme was finally brought to light.


Times Leader: “‘Kids for Cash’ story grabbed author”

Scranton Times-Tribune: “Book explores NEPA’s tolerance of corruption”

Citizens’ Voice: “New book reveals history behind Kids for Cash scheme”

Related articles:

ABA Journal: “Town Without Pity”

ABAJournal.com: “Former Pa. Judge Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison in Kids-for-Cash Scandal”

ABAJournal.com: “Top Pa. Court Vacates 6,000+ Juvenile Rulings By Ex-Luzerne County Judge”

ABA Journal Podcast

Scared to Expand? Experts Offer Hiring Advice in Troubled Times

Costs scare many sole practitioners or small firms from hiring additional lawyers, but if planned properly, experts tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, the extra help makes a practice much more profitable.

The Modern Law Library

Voter Fraud v. Voter Suppression: Author Explains That Neither Is Quite What We Think

Republicans say voter fraud is rampant. Democrats see voter ID laws threatening to disenfranchise large numbers of eligible voters.

In his book The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, author Rick Hasen says that the real danger is overblown political rhetoric that destroys the confidence the American people have in our electoral system’s legitimacy.

With ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles, he discusses our electoral system’s flaws, including partisan election officials, outdated equipment and the “Fraudulent Fraud Squad.” The election is in less than three weeks—could we be facing another Florida 2000 meltdown? Hasen takes a look back at how far we’ve come in a decade.

Related articles

NPR: “Richard Hasen: ‘The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown’”

New York Times: “A Détente Before the Election”

Wall Street Journal: “A Better Way To Cast a Ballot”

Washington Post: “As always, Florida in the middle of the voting wars”

The Oregonian: “‘The Voting Wars’ review: Timely examination of our botched balloting”

The Modern Law Library

‘Good Girls Revolt’ Author Discusses Groundbreaking 1970s Sex-Discrimination Suit Against Newsweek

“Women in Revolt,” a feature story about the nascent feminist movement, was the cover of Newsweek magazine on March 16, 1970. That same day, 46 female Newsweek employees announced that they were suing the magazine, then seen as an advocate of the civil rights movement, for sex discrimination. Lynn Povich, author of The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace, was there that day as one of the plaintiffs. She shares with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles what led to the suit, the actions of the male bosses, and what effect the lawsuit had on the careers of the women involved.


The New York Times: “‘Good Girls’ Fight to Be Journalists”

NPR: “‘Good Girls Revolt’: Story Of A Newsroom Uprising”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Lynn Povich writes ‘Good Girls Revolt’”

Slate: “What’s Changed, and What Hasn’t, Since the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses”

Los Angeles Review of Books: “Power Suit: Dissent in the Newsroom”

Washingtonian: “Book Review: ‘The Good Girls Revolt’ by Lynn Povich”

ABA Journal Podcast

Lucky 36: What It Takes to Land a Supreme Court Clerkship

About a thousand candidates—most if not all of whom have top grades, fascinating backgrounds and served as law review editors—apply for U.S. Supreme Court clerkship slots each year. How do the 36 who get tapped make the cut? Reputation, coupled with a bit of luck, goes a long way, guests tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

Related article:

ABAJournal.com: “Critical of Law School Rankings, Thomas Says ‘Ivies’ OK, but He Prefers Hiring ‘Regular’ Students”

Reuters: “The secret keepers: Meet the U.S. Supreme Court clerks”

The Modern Law Library

Author Describes Clash of Titans Jefferson and Marshall in ‘The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr’

Marbury v. Madison may have been their first major legal battle, but President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall clashed again in the treason trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr.

Burr may now be known best for his fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804, but by 1807 he was on trial for a plot that may (or may not) have involved fighting a private war against the Spanish; convincing the Western states to secede; and a mysterious cipher letter delivered by a “scoundrel” general into Jefferson’s own hand. In a trial lasting seven months, some of the new nation’s most skilled lawyers fought to define habeas corpus rights, the separation of powers and the constitutional definition of treason.

Professor R. Kent Newmyer reveals all these events in his new book, The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr: Law, Politics, and the Character Wars of the New Nation. He joined The Modern Law Library podcast to discuss his book with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles. The Jefferson/Marshall showdown at what some call the greatest criminal trial in American history almost never came to be; Newmyer shares that Chief Justice Marshall presided over the trial in Richmond, Va., only because in those days Supreme Court justices were expected to ride circuit. He also discusses some of the legal minds who were involved in the trial, including a man named (confusingly) Luther Martin.


“Kent Newmyer, one of the most distinguished legal historians in the country, has written an extraordinarily learned and balanced account of what is arguably the greatest criminal trial in American history. The trial seems as relevant today as it was in 1807.” - Gordon S. Wood, Brown University

Note: The digital version of the book is available now; the print release date has been moved to Oct. 23, 2012.

The Modern Law Library

After Going from BigLaw to ABC News, Author of ‘Exit Interview’ Witnessed Seismic Changes

ABA Journal Reporter Rachel Zahorsky talks with David Westin, author of Exit Interview and a former Washington, D.C., BigLaw partner, who left his position as president of ABC News after 14 years of leading media coverage of what he calls “some of the most perplexing and important events in history.”

President Bill Clinton’s impeachment (including what ignited the decision to report on the existence of a certain blue dress); the 2000 presidential election; the Sept. 11 attacks; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the worst economy since the Great Depression have marked an era of constant change in America. And, within the newsroom, Westin, who was seen as a corporate outsider to some veteran journalists, inherited a business besieged by budget cuts and competition from nearly unlimited sources thanks in part to the explosive growth of the Internet and digital technology.

As a former lawyer who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Westin also shares with us his views on cameras in courtrooms, protections for anonymous sources, and lessons the legal profession—faced with its own changing landscape—should learn.


Newsweek: “David Westin on Network News in Crisis in ‘Exit Interview’”

NPR: “A Network Head Reflects In ‘Interview’”

KPCC: “Former head of ABC News David Westin offers his ‘Exit Interview’”

ABA Journal Podcast

Keeping the Peace: How Associates and Partners Can Work Together Without a Battle

Partners might drive associates crazy, but associates can control some of that with their own behavior, lawyers tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward. Tips include never leaving your office without a pad of paper; asking questions—providing they’re well thought out—when assigned a matter; and remembering that at work, you are always being judged.

The Modern Law Library

‘Five-Finger Discount’ Costs Billions, Says Author of Shoplifting Book ‘The Steal’

Shoplifting—is it little Johnny swiping a pack of gum, or a multibillion-dollar crime epidemic? Well, it can be both, says Rachel Shteir, author of The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, and the public perception of shoplifting has shifted throughout history.

Shteir speaks with ABA Journal Web producer Lee Rawles as they discuss professional shoplifters—called “boosters”—the treatments available for compulsive shoplifters, and the extraordinary extrajudicial industry of “loss prevention.”


The New York Times: “Sticky Fingers, Used in Service of a Covetous Nature”

New York Observer: “No, Steal This Book: Rachel Shteir’s ‘The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting’”

NPR: “Sticky Fingers, Hidden Hams: A Shoplifting History”

Los Angeles Times: “The surprising psychology of shoplifting”

ABA Journal Podcast

On Stage: How to Use Theater Techniques to Reach Juries

Acting relies on an audience connection, and trial work is no different, say consultants David Ball and Joshua Karton. With ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward they discuss storytelling, cross examinations and why one should never use PowerPoint during trial.

Related article:

ABA Journal: “The Theater’s 12 Greatest Courtroom Dramas”

The Modern Law Library

Scalia Discusses Views on Textualism and the Process of Co-Writing His New Book

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has long been known as a champion of the legal philosophy of textualism, interpreting statutes by the writer’s words. The justice teams again with co-author Bryan A. Garner, editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, in their second book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. In addition to explaining textualism and originalism–defining the words based on the Constitution Founders’ meaning–the writers list 70 canons to guide lawyers and judges.

In an interview with ABA Journal Assistant Managing Editor Richard Brust, Justice Scalia explains textualism, the effort with Garner to write the book, and how lawyers can use the concepts to help argue their cases.

The Modern Law Library

Federal Judge Pens Memoir About His Time on the Bench and His High-Profile Cases in ‘Disrobed’

In his time on the federal district court in Brooklyn, Judge Frederic Block has presided over many high-profile cases. He speaks with ABA Journal web producer Lee Rawles about his time in private practice; his involvement with cases, including the Kitty Genovese and Crown Heights Riot murders; and appearing before the Warren Supreme Court to argue a one man, one vote case at the age of 33. He says that he wrote Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge to help further readers’ understanding of federal courts and to combat the typical “judicial lockjaw.”


“Judge Block gives the reader an engaging, often humorous account of his life, as always, and a compelling introduction to the world of a federal judge, whose decisions are subject to plenty of public scrutiny but whose decision-making process remains a mystery for most Americans.” - President Bill Clinton

The Villager: “Judge’s book gives an insider’s view of life on the bench”

Updated at 2:20 p.m. to remove a reference in Judge Block’s bio.

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